Pro-Life Victory on HB 2354 (the Illinois FOCA bill)
We received this message from Zach Wichmann with the Catholic Conference of Illinois who has been working very closely with the pro-life and pro-family groups in Illinois. Thank you for all your help in defeating this bill (at least for now). It is because of your help, this bill was stopped.
House Bill 2354 will not be called for a vote before tonight's deadline. The proponents of the bill (Planned Parenthood and ACLU) were not able to muster the number of votes they needed, so they will not call the bill for a vote. We estimate they were some 10 to 15 votes short of the 60 required.
This great accomplishment would not have happened without your engagement in the issue. Catholics across Illinois participated in email and phone trees, took up petition drives, met with their representatives, and many drove to Springfield to lobby in the halls of the Capitol. We must also note the leadership role assumed by our Bishops and their willingness to speak out and rally our people. All of us came together and did a great thing.
Some people and/or groups are reporting that the bill is dead for the year. Perhaps. However, we must remember that there are many ways to revive legislation, and it will not harm us to remain vigilant. We will let you know quickly if anything stirs.
It will be very important that in the weeks to come we thank those legislators who stood up for what is right and begin to think about how to build this network of opposition to House Bill 2354 into something bigger and more important -- a network dedicated to the protection of human life and religious freedom.
FOCA on the Federal Level
In the US House of Representatives The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) was introduced by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). The bill is H.R. 1964. To date there are 71 co-sponsors (probably more now) 70 Democrats and 1 Republican. In the Senate FOCA was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The bill is S.1173 Two of the key co-sponsors are Hillary Clinton and, more importantly, Barrack Obama.
Although the sponsors say that FOCA would simply codify Roe v Wade, (The US Supreme Court decision that declared a Constitutional right to abortion) and invalidated anti-abortion laws in all 50 states. FOCA goes far beyond codifying Roe.
FOCA states every woman has "a fundamental right" to have an abortion, and no government (federal, state or local) may deny or "interfere with" this right. Moreover, no government may "discriminate against the exercise of this right when regulating or providing "benefits, facilities, services, or information" to the public. In other words abortion may not be treated differently from live birth -- if a public program supports motherhood it must equally support abortion. FOCA endangers a wide range of laws enacted by the people and their elected Representatives over 35 years.
1. Invalidate laws to protect a woman from unsafe abortion clinics and ensure that she is not informed about abortion.
2. Require taxpayers to pay for all abortions.
3. Require states to allow "partial birth" and other late-term abortions.
4. Require states to allow abortions by non-physicians. (Illinois has a physician only law regulating abortion)
5. Eliminate the Conscience Clause. (this includes physicians, pharmacists, nurses and health care institutions).
6. Nullify all parental right laws.
The US Catholic Bishops Response to FOCA